As a mom to an advanced reader, I know the problems it can pose for parents of kids who are emotionally still young but need the challenge of more advanced reading. Jackson is now old enough to handle more advanced themes but the last few years have been quite the adventure in reading. Here is my reading list and tips for young advanced readers.
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In grade two Jackson was assessed at fully adult literate. While his classmates were stumbling through picture books he wanted to read The Hobbit. But here’s the issue, just because he CAN read more advanced books, doesn’t mean he’s ready for the advanced themes of those books.
It’s a situation that can be very difficult to navigate since gifted children are often also very sensitive and can comprehend things they are simply not emotionally ready for. This was our struggle with Jackson, to challenge him and encourage his love of reading without scaring him or triggering is anxiety.
We found non-fiction to be a wonderful solution. Jackson could fill his mind up with all sorts of new information and read lots of challenging text, but we were able to keep the themes appropriate for him.
Another thing we did was write a book together. Jackson and I worked together to write a chapter book and he also went off on his own and wrote a number of graphic novels. We published that chapter book and he loves reading it over and over again while planning book number two.
Using an eReader has become a big blessing with Jackson for a number of reasons. The biggest one is that he is reading books that are too big for him to comfortably hold (Harry Potter anyone?). Another great thing with eReaders is that we can usually get books a little cheaper than the physical copy and we can get instant delivery, including from our library. Having books instantly available is really handy some days with my boy that can plow through over 200 pages in an afternoon! We still love physical books and that is always our preference, but there has definitely been a time and place for using the eReader.
The best part is that you don’t need to buy an eReader, you can download a free app and read Kindle books on any device. Amazon has this nifty link that should take you directly to your appropriate download site if you click it while on your device. Check it out! Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices
Another program Amazon offers is Kindle Unlimited. This program helps me keep new books in my son’s hands as fast as he can read them! You can get your first month free to try the program here:
Here are a few of our favourite book titles for when Jackson was in the 4 to 7 year old range. Sadly a number of the Usborne ones we loved are no longer in print, but if you find any second hand books from the old Usborne Science Reader series, we loved those ones too!:
Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)Who Was Albert Einstein?Todd Parr’s Feelings BundleFirst Encyclopedia of Science (Usborne First Encyclopedia)First Encyclopedia of History (Usborne First Encyclopedia)Usborne Geography Encyclopedia with Complete World Atlas ILBasher Science Basics 10 Book Learning Library (BasherMagic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-28Marguerite Henry Treasury of Horses (Boxed Set): MistyThe Black Stallion Adventures! (Box Set)E. B. White Box SetThe Walking Fish
Most of the books above are the beginning in a series, so once Jackson started I could just keep supplying new books from the series. This makes my life much easier! I also want to touch on the Todd Parr books, Jackson loved these books! No, they are not hard to read, they are colourful and fun. The reason he loved them is because they got him thinking about lots of really important concepts he doesn’t see in other books, including different types of families, how to protect our planet, and how it’s okay to make mistakes or be different. These books have lead to so many wonderful and deep discussions.
One of my biggest tips is to ensure you are still reading with your child. Jackson and I curl up together and read our books side by side. Being there with him means he can ask me any questions and I can help him with any new ideas or difficult themes as he comes across them. We’ve had some wonderful discussions this way. Plus, we are sharing our love of literature and it’s one of my favourite moments every day. One day I’m going to really miss curling up with my little reading buddy.
I hope all of these tips help! Happy reading!